lawmakers described Mr. Tukur as a ‘drowning man’
Dozens of House of Representatives members, who have publicly supported a new faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, on Thursday dismissed a threat by the party’s chairman, Bamanga Tukur, to have their seats declared vacant.
The legislators said Mr. Tukur demonstrated ignorance of the law by threatening to sack them for identifying with a breakaway group of the party, and described him as a “weakling”, a “loser”, and a “drowning man”.
“Weaklings and losers always seek to use whatever powers they think are at their disposal, irrespective of how in appropriate that may be, shore up a lost cause,” the lawmakers said in a statement Thursday. The statement was signed on their behalf by Sekonte Davies, who represents River State.
More than 50 House of Representatives members and nearly 30 Senators have reportedly declared support for the new faction of the party, which is led by Abubakar Baraje and Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
The group also has the backing of seven governors and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Attempts at reconciliation between both sides have failed, and the Tukur and Baraje factions have instituted cases in court against the other.
Mr. Tukur on Wednesday vowed to ensure that elected officials on the platform of the PDP, now supporting the Baraje faction, are relieved of their posts.
The threat is in line with constitutional provision that states that lawmakers who change parties from that which they were elected lose their seat. However, the constitution also stipulates that such lawmakers would retain their seats if they can prove that their old party is factionalised implying chances of a successful removal by the PDP chairman are slim.
Attempt to remove any of the PDP governors in the other faction is even more difficult if not impossible for Mr. Tukur.
The lawmakers said the threat was characteristic of the “garrison attitude” that has destroyed the party.
“Again, as he had operated the constitution of the party mostly in breach, he thinks that he can also do the same with the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act. From all relevant sections of these laws and as severally pronounced by the Supreme Court, you cannot declare anybody’s seat vacant especially when the party is in factions,” they said.
“Moreover, since he has not been a member of the party, he does not also know that PDP is the greatest beneficiary of party factionalization and fractionalization in the present dispensation of our democratic journey.”
The legislators slammed Mr. Tukur for urging security agents to go after aggrieved members who are in support of the “new” PDP.
“..We don’t know when political disagreements within a political party became a State offence such that the former Chairman of PDP should ask the security agencies to harass and arrest his opponents. We thought this was what the military and the political cowardly did,” they said.
“However, we are not surprised, nonetheless, because a drowning man can hold on to anything he thinks will help him to stay afloat and survive.”
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